Providing the best possible client service is one of the most important ways a business can differentiate itself from its competitors. Client studies have shown more customers prefer dealing with a business that provides a personal efficient service and can easily offer solutions that will quickly resolve their problems or issues.

In general, it should be relatively easy for a small business to provide a personal service. However, as small business grows it can be challenging to maintain the same level of excellence in client service. Managing client interactions is where a customer relationship management system (CRM) can be a huge benefit.

You know how a CRM can help your business. You implement a CRM solution to address a specific issue, such as managing customer and prospect information like company names and contact details. However, once the CRM is installed and the initial problem is addressed, you may begin to feel your CRM technology is not being used to its full potential. You could be right! A CRM system can benefit almost any business in so many different ways!

When a CRM is placed at the heart of a business, it can produce immediate benefits:

Here we highlight some of less familiar ways a CRM application can help your small business.

  • Access Clear Information
    A CRM can help you by providing clear and accessible profiles of your clients and prospects. One simple example is a CRM application that includes a specific contact status relating to marketing activity.  With general data protection regulations becoming more stringent, this is a feature well worth having! A “don’t email” or “TPS status” (telephone preference service), provides very specific information about a company or contact. When used as a filter, this type of data can also help you define a simple mailing list or call list. Improving the quality of the information you hold about customers and prospects helps your business get to ‘know your clients’ better and can help you make informed decisions about your customers.
  • Emails and Documents
    Being able to access customer and prospect information is one issue. Being able to find emails, documents and files that relate to a customer found in your CRM is another.  Managing this information and relating it to a client or prospect, is a critical part of a customer journey. Being able to see which emails have been sent by you, your colleagues and your client, or what documents have been exchanged etc. is an essential feature of any CRM. Growing SMBs will benefit from being able to relate emails, files and documents directly to a customer or client; reducing the amount of time spent searching for emails and files.
  • Seamless Integration
    CRM applications can easily integrate with many other business systems and applications. For example, integrating your VoIP or phone system add another facet of the interaction your business has with its clients and prospects. Integrate a CRM with you invoicing system and you can see what has been paid and what is outstanding. Integration provides an opportunity to extend the capabilities of your CRM application. It centralises the information that is important to your business and reduces time flipping from one business application to another.
  • Designed for you
    CRM apps are generally very versatile. It should be possible to customise your CRM to easily address the specific needs of your individual business sector or industry! Adding custom data field to calculate products costs should be easy. Creating custom workflows for specific tasks such as annual accounts production or quarterly VAT returns offers an easy way to manage and report on these processes.
  • Another level of Data Protection for you and your Client Data
    A CRM will hold many different types of information. So, it is important to know what level of confidentiality your business may need to apply to this information. Who should be able to access this information? Who can view the information? Who can process and share the information? Who can see sales information, supplier information and invoice information?  By providing different levels of access within your company to your client information, you are effectively protecting the business information you hold.  As important, is the CRM information that may be collected about you and your colleagues! Many CRMs will offer an audit trail providing details about user activity and interactivity. These types of features may make you feel there’s a ‘eye watching your every move’ but these types of features are designed to offer the users protection; showing specific requirements or tasks have been fulfilled or recording personal contact data fields have been maintained. The types of features recording an audit trail are specifically useful where a business is regularly subject to compliance audits.